Chicago Spanking Review

Route 66 Spanking

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martin milner grabs diane baker before spanking her

An overmatched Alex Cord provokes Glenn Corbett into a fight.

We're going to go on at such length about this episode of Route 66 - in fact we're even going to discuss another episode of this series that didn't have a spanking scene - that we thought we'd better get to the spanking in this one right away. That way, anyone who's only interested in the spanking can stop reading after viewing the first video.

The set-up is fairly unusual: best friends Tod and Linc are staying at a rooming house run by a father and daughter. Linc has become involved with the daughter, Marie, who causes no end of trouble by playing up to a sailor, Jack, whom Tod and Linc rescued from a bar fight he was losing. Showing no gratitude, Jack pursues Marie, unwisely provoking a fight with Linc (who as a trained fighter can take him easily) by letting him see Marie's lipstick on his face at Marie's birthday party. When the fight breaks out, Tod does what any best friend should - he takes Marie into the kitchen, bends her over a table, and gives her three solid whacks on the seat of her dress!

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We first saw a version of the spanking scene on Chross's Blog two years ago in 2012, but it wasn't at all clear what was going on or which episode of the series this was. It turns out to be the third episode from season four, entitled "Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are". Only one episode is run on Chicago TV each week, so it wasn't until July 2013 that we managed to capture it in its entirety.

This episode was filmed on location in Poland Spring, Maine during the last week of August, 1963 and first aired on October 11, 1963.

You can use the player at left if you have Internet Explorer with ActiveX Controls enabled, or download the Windows Media (WMV) version here. If you want to burn it to DVD later, use the MPEG-2 version. To download, right-click and then select "Save Target As". We've also left the YouTube player in place we used for the first week after we posted this page to alleviate the problems of hosting the video ourselves.

martin milner grabs diane baker to give her a spanking

As the fighting breaks out, Tod (Martin Milner) realizes it's all Marie's (Diane Baker) fault, so he grabs her in preparation for spanking her.

This was our reaction to the scene when Chross first posted it:

"I've never seen Martin Milner look so assertive! I remember the series - second-rate drama about two guys cruising around the country in a great-looking Corvette - but must never have seen this spanking episode. Now that you've identified it for us, perhaps we'll be able to find a better recording. It seems to be a rather good scene, unusual in the bending-over position and leisurely pace of the swats."

Martin Milner actually made a very good spanker - he was good-looking in a boy-next-door sort of way, and a nice enough guy to possess the necessary moral authority to determine when a girl really deserved a spanking. Between Route 66 and Adam-12, he must have logged more miles behind the wheel on film than any other actor in history. Baker did well too - she puts back her hands at one point to try to protect her bottom, without any success of course.

martin milner spanks diane baker on route 66

Hauling Marie into the kitchen, Tod bends her over the kitchen table and gives her the first of three good hard whacks!

It's possible that Diane Baker was not too thrilled with the camera angle for the spanking, since she was aimed fanny-first toward the lens, but we like it well enough. Why didn't Milner just take her over his knee? It seems to us that there simply wasn't enough room in the kitchen to allow this without rearranging the furniture (and note that the kitchen and living room were located in an actual house rather than being a constructed set, so with the cameras and lights in there it must have been pretty crowded).

Milner lands three solid whacks, so overall this must be considered a pretty good spanking scene, perhaps unique in that it's a disciplinary spanking given on the spankee's birthday. But in viewing it, the average person would probably ask "Why did Marie act that way, playing up to Jack and causing all this trouble?"

martin milner spanks diane baker on route 66

Milner and Baker acted this scene well - she puts her hands back in a futile gesture as he lays the swats on fairly hard.

That turns out to be a hard question to answer. "I'm going to hurt your friend," Marie tells Tod in the first scene. Tod isn't buying her half-assed rationalizations, that ever since she was young, she became what others wanted her to be, blah blah blah... - and good for him! Like everying else in this episode - in fact, in this series - her motivations are both unclear and unconvincing. We could present this whole scene, or indeed this whole episode in its entirety, and the viewer would still be left with nothing but psychobabble and third-hand Freudian analysis instead of any real knowledge of who this character is or why we should care about her.

Ditto for Jack, the sailor. There's nothing that would explain, much less excuse, Jack's pursuit of Marie or Marie's ready acquiescence - in a way, she takes the lead by stealing Tod's keys and bidding Jack to follow her (as seen in the spanking scene above). In the end, Marie is neither sexually repressed nor promiscuous: she and Jack wind up on a beach late at night, and after some more necking and meaningless self-revelations, Jack urges her to "Come out, come out wherever you are" (from whence came this episode's title), and she tells Jack, "I don't know what you want me to be." The two don't make love; Jack returns to his ship and she eventually goes home. Basically, she's a cipher, and the fault is with the writing - in fact, the series' whole approach to drama was wrong.

lon chaney in route 66

Lon Chaney, a very fine actor, was given so little playable dialogue as Papa that to cover this fact he spent as much time laughing as Cesar Romero did as the Joker on the old Batman series. It was the best anyone could have done with the role, but we really felt sorry for him. Although he played many parts during a long career, young people today would probably only know him from his roles in various Universal horror pictures such as The Wolf Man in 1941 (see inset at right).

You can't create a character by merely grafting some physical or psychological abnormality onto him, as here with Papa's loss of a hand which was probably intended to signify his distraction by Marie's mother, or with Marie's own self-confessed lack of identity. But none of their speeches give us any real insight into their characters; Lon Chaney's occasional sad glances are as close as we come, and he's forced into almost continual laughter to disguise the absence of any meaningful dialogue. If all this sounds confusing, believe us when we say it doesn't make any more sense when you've gone over the entire thing twice as we have. And this was typical of the series: each week there would be another oddball "character" who lacked any real depth.

lon chaney as the wolf man

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Two things in particular undermined the drama on Route 66: its reliance on naturalism and the crushing time pressure on Stirling Silliphant, who acted as a sort of head writer while also producing the show. He had to spend a lot of time scouting locations, leaving him very little time to do any real writing. Silliphant was listed as co-scripter on this episode with Anthony Basta (over a story by Richard Jessup), but we'd guess the spanking was Jessup's idea and Silliphant mainly did some touch-up work on the script.

Route 66 had a very unusual opening: instead of a fixed sequence perhaps including still shots accompanied by theme music over which the starring credits would roll (think Mission: Impossible or most any other series in the 60's), Route 66 would start the story right away, using anything from establishing shots to close-ups, with the opening credits worked in wherever possible. Even the theme music had to be worked in, with a new transition and often a new arrangement every week, requiring considerable effort from composer Nelson Riddle. The remaining credits (writer, director) would appear at the beginning of the second scene, which was common practice. At left is the opening sequence from "Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are".

You can use the player at left if you have Internet Explorer with ActiveX Controls enabled, or download the Windows Media (WMV) version here. No MPEG-2 version is being provided, since we don't imagine anyone is interested in burning the opening sequence to DVD. To download, right-click and then select "Save Target As".

notated theme music from route 66

We mentioned that Nelson Riddle had to work the theme into the opening sequence. In this episode's opening, which begins with the least action possible (Tod and Linc are asleep), Riddle used the traditional French melody Frère Jacques (Are You Sleeping?) and then transitioned to a quiet statement of the Route 66 theme. For the benefit of CSR readers who may be musically inclined, we have notated the theme at left (click to enlarge).

the titles roll on route 66

The opening sequence from "Give the Old Cat a Tender Mouse," a helicopter shot of Tod's Corvette entering Memphis, Tennessee.

Now the basic premise of the series was that two friends go driving across the country (on Route 66, sort of). But if it was to be an odyssey of self-discovery, the problem was that no discernible character development ever took place among the principals (Martin Milner, George Maharis, and later Glenn Corbett when Maharis developed severe back trouble), nor did they ever seem to "find themselves" if that's what they were trying to do. On the other hand, when the focus was on the guest stars, as it usually was, you had in effect an anthology series, but this was undermined by the failures we outlined for "Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are".

The location filming was a byproduct of the series' naturalism, which means presenting life exactly as it is. Prior to the advent of naturalism, it had been understood that literature, including drama, was a structured artifact in which the unimportant and irrelevant were left out as the artist attempted to understand and interpret human existence. The vain hope of naturalism seems to have been that if you just threw bits and pieces of "real life" up on the screen, the meaning of existence would just somehow magically impart itself to the viewer. But it never worked, as our description of "Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are" may have made clear. The Naked City had many of the same problems as Route 66, and for the same reason: shooting every episode on location in New York City could not make up for the lack of substantial drama.

julie newmar looks at robert webber on route 66

Robert Webber prepares to tell Julie Newmar where their relationship stands in Give the Old Cat a Tender Mouse (aired Dec. 1962).

As long as we've gone this far, let's probe a little deeper into Route 66 by examining another episode, "Give the Old Cat a Tender Mouse," which had appeared the year before with guest stars Robert Webber (Frank) and Julie Newmar (Vicki) (no spanking for Julie, alas). Julie plays the daughter of a wealthy family in the east who have decided she should be wed to the son (Webber) of an even wealthier family in Memphis. Julie rides in on her motorcycle (this is supposed to tell us that she's a free spirit) and boldly introduces herself to Webber, followed wherever she goes by her family's agent, Pogo, driving a van. You can see that this bizarrerie is presented as if it were some kind of interesting uniqueness, just as it was in "Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are" and many other episodes. As for our stars, George Maharis was ailing and Martin Milner was reduced to providing alleged comic relief by being stopped repeatedly by the same motorcycle cop when he literally chases after Vicki, whom he had met in an earlier episode.

julie newmar looks at robert webber on route 66

Julie with a concerned expression as she realizes that the news isn't good.

It's hard to describe the progress of their romance - they run around together a bit and seem to be getting along o.k. although Vicki attracts so much male attention that Frank winds up in a fight. Eventually, Frank takes her to his family's country estate where they go horseback riding and she manages to jump a horse higher than he can. Apparently he's somewhat insecure because, as he says, "All I want is a woman who is not a contender for the title."

Like everything else about this series, the final scene fails to convince once you start to think about it even slightly.

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Let's take a look at that final scene now. Note that not even the good performances from Julie and Webber (who sustains an extremely long speech very well), and Nelson Riddle's original music (as the scene begins to close) can turn it into something meaningful.

You can use the player at left if you have Internet Explorer with ActiveX Controls enabled, or download the Windows Media (WMV) version here. No MPEG-2 version is being provided, since we don't imagine anyone is interested in burning this scene to DVD. To download, right-click and then select "Save Target As".

julie newmar looks at robert webber on route 66

"Good-bye, Vicki." Robert Webber breaks up with Julie Newmar in Give the Old Cat a Tender Mouse. It would be interesting to know the percentage of male viewers at the time who thought he was nuts!

It's really a shame the drama wasn't better on Route 66, because it turned out to be Nelson Riddle's only chance to do some serious dramatic scoring and he would surely have risen to the occasion had there been any real drama. He had been a successful arranger in the 1950's, and after this series went on to do Batman, where he wrote a new theme for each guest super-villain, including of course Julie's Catwoman. As for naturalism, television never really abandoned it: the 70's were dominated mainly by melodrama with a naturalistic mode of presentation (Kojak, etc.), giving way to pseudo-drama in the 80's (think Steven Bochco), and finally to the dreadful uber-naturalism of today's "Reality TV".

Stirling Silliphant (1918 - 1996) never won an Emmy, nor did he deserve to as there were contemporary series such as The Fugitive that offered better drama than Route 66. (Our spankee Diane Baker guest-starred in the last episode of The Fugitive several years later, by the way). Silliphant did go on to win the Best Screenplay Oscar for In the Heat of the Night in 1967. While we think that film is overrated, he did manage to avoid making the same technical errors he had throughout Route 66, and we have to wonder what he might have done had he actually taken the time to refine his craft instead of just hacking out episode after episode.

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